mark slaughter

Mark Slaughter and Pittsburgh

One of the weirder nights I experienced was at a Rib-Fest, or whatever it was called, circa 1995-ish, with hair bands from the 80's on the bill.

Now, bear in mind I am a guitarist who came up in the 80's, so I love a lot of the music. The pomposity, the youth based attitudes-- I remember feeling that way, and although that's not who I am now, it's still fun to take a trip down memory lane.

This show was special because I am a big fan of George Lynch, guitarist for Dokken. Alice Cooper is an icon to me, and he was the headliner, so this was a total win-win for me.
Slaughter was also on the bill that night. They were a very good band with bad timing. Had they broke in 83-84, they might have been Bon Jovi level huge. They had serious talent, and Mark Slaughter had range and depth.
Instead, they're playing to 5000 people at a Rib Fest, all because of Nirvana... but they were not bitter at all, which I learned from an impromptu conversation with Mark while hanging out backstage.
I introduced myself, adding I didn't expect him to know me-- as an ice breaker joke. His response was totally unexpected.
"I know who you are".
He said it in a serious tone that made me feel he was about to blame me for Nirvana.
I stared at him for a moment, and finally stammered, "You know me?"
Suddenly he did a complete 180, smiled and said, "Sure I do. I read your magazine every month. I love it."
Okay, now I'm really confused. I mean, we had a large distribution area, but how in the hell..? "I'm flattered and also confused" I said, "Don't you live in L.A.?"
He laughed and said, "My wife is from Turtle Creek. Her family sends it to us every month."
"Wow" I said with genuine surprise. "I had no idea. I know there are people in L.A. who know us, of course, but I never factored in the Pittsburgh Connection thing. I swear, Pittsburgh is the Kevin Bacon of cities."

He laughed again and said, "I think you're right. I love Pittsburgh and seriously man, we appreciate the press. Not a lot of 'Zines are writing about bands like us these days, but you guys cover everything, regardless of what's the flavor of the month on MTV or whatever."

 We continued chatting and I gotta say, I felt pretty good. I was honestly flattered that a genuine MTV video famous rocker acknowledged me, and I had never interviewed him to boot. He was a reader. It was a revelation for me, knowing our reach had grown beyond geography. It was a lesson I never forgot.
Alice CooperAh, Billy. The most awesome label rep ever. Those who know "Billy" will undoubtedly agree. The man was the embodiment of everything that was cool and right about the music biz. He truly loved it, and lived it. Dealing with him was a pleasure. Even the actual work part was better with Billy.

And he was generous. He hooked me up so many times, in so many ways--tickets, passes, shwag of every description-- how could I say 'no' to the man?
He had treated me to "shopping day" every Friday. We'd have our meeting, discuss sales goals, ad buys, etc., and then Billy would say, "Ready to go shopping?" and he would take me to his pickup with the topper, which was basically a mobile CD store of the latest releases, reissues, special shit that was hard to find. It was fucking awesome. I'd walk away with--literally-- boxes of CDs. "Here, give one to your brother!" he'd say as he rummaged through the goodies.
How could I ever say "no" to him if he needed a favor? Especially when he needed to deal with Alice Cooper about something or other (he wasn't very clear about that part).
Of course, the favors had always been related to marketing, billing, sales goals, advertising... "babysitter" was a new one...


Titties and Beer
dondokkenThis particular lineup of bands had summoned every divorced late 30's former hair band chick now a soccer mom turned cougar for the night, from at least a 70 mile radius around Pittsburgh. I hadn't seen that many big hair women sporting halter tops and short skirts since a Triple X gig at Someplace Else in '89...
Most people-- men and women-- will admit, even grudgingly, that titties are pretty awesome. It's not just sexual-- although that certainly complicates it for some folks. The reality is, titties represent SURVIVAL. They are the only thing that kept babies alive for so long, it's embedded in our DNA.

And frankly, beyond that, I cannot completely trust anyone who says they don't like titties. That's too anti-social for me. I love 'em, so I completely understand their attraction.

What I didn't know, until that night, was what the power of titties on demand was like in real life.
Thanks to Billy, I was about to find out.
The Stage Coach
"Brother, I need a huge favor..."
The speech that followed, involving contractual business obligations, etc, etc, basically ended with:

Billy: "I'm supposed to be babysitting Don, but I gotta deal with this shit-- can you please make sure he gets to the stage?"

Me: "Huh?"
Billy: "Brother I need you to make sure he gets to the stage. Come with me and I'll introduce you so he knows what's up."
Me: "Huh?"
Next thing I know,

Billy: "Don, this is Vinni. He's gonna fill in for me, so you can trust him. He's cool."

Me: "Huh?"
Don: "Oh cool man, nice to meet you!"
Me: The pleasure is mine, and forgive me if I'm a bit surprised, but Billy is my bro and he asked me to step up..."
Don: "Billy rocks. No problem. How much time do we have?"
I look at Billy.
Billy: "About 20 minutes, so you should get set. I gotta go, but Vinni knows the way."
Okay, I know the way to the stage. I mean, we're right behind it. No problem.
As Billy walked out, I was confident I could handle this. Check the time, walk with Don to the stage. No sweat.

As soon as Billy left, Don stood up.

Don: "Well, we have 20 minutes, right?"
Before I could respond, he was on his way.
He didn't head to the stage at all. Instead, he headed for the area side stage-- kind of the in between of backstage and  the place where you entered backstage. I call it Purgatory, because the fans were separated from backstage by mere rail barriers, like bike racks. They could see paradise, but could not touch it.  It was not a wall, or even a fence, it was just those bike rack barriers between the recently divorced and extremely horny titties bursting forth from the halter tops, and the fantasy of touching Don Dokken.
Or, as I discovered to my growing alarm, the titties were actually a barrier between Don Dokken and the stage.
It's Only Rock n Roll... and Titties.
Don Dokken is a friendly guy-- no rock star attitude at all, but he is not immune to the power of titties, and he wanted to say, 'hello' to each and every pair there. And it seemed like every pair was paired with another pair. Two recently divorced besties with great tits worshiping their rock Gods on a hot summer night. Double the pleasure, double the fun, and double trouble for yours truly.

Yet, it was also amusing and kind of inspirational watching Don evaluate this pageant of adoring tits, ummm, I mean, fans. Really.  It's hard to fault a rock star for taking time to greet his biggest fans...

george lynchAs I trailed behind Don, like a dog trying to herd a randy ram, I desperately attempted to interpose myself between Don and the titties, all the while offering polite, yet firm, exhortations regarding the fact that he needed to be on stage in... OH, FUCK! THREE MINUTES!!!
It was zero hour. There was no turning back now.
"Don!" I said in a commanding voice, interrupting two very hot pairs of titties in mid-seduction. His attention snapped to me, in the same way my dog does when I say, "GODDAMMIT!!!"
"Dude, I love you man, but we gotta go!"
At that moment, George Lynch belted out a chord that rang out loud from the stage, and Don responded like Pavlov's dog. He immediately bid the titties farewell, looked at me and said, "Let's go!".

We literally ran to the stage, and just as he was about to run out to the crowd, Don turned to me and said, simply, "Thanks man."


Category: Main Stage